One day I heard the editorial assistants had been told to spend a Friday afternoon dealing with fan mail. They were bribed with pizza and soda to do this about twice a year. I offered to help which surprised them but won me a few friends.
Letters arrived to romance authors no longer published (or never) by New American Library/Topaz, the mass market division of Penguin, for which I worked. Letters that had the title of the book (some very generic) but no author, which some of these assistants might have recycled without researching, had my stern eye not been on them. There were no laptops or smartphones then so questions on older books required leaving the room and trying to look up the answer. The irony was that the older editors who had institutional memory were too arrogant to help out.
Black Like Me (no author) which I remembered reading in my elementary school library, a nonfiction book by white journalist John Howard Griffin recounting his journey in the Deep South of the United States, at a time when African-Americans lived under racial segregation. He was long deceased by this time but NAL/Signet had published the paperback which was still in print. No one else in the room had even heard of this book and were surprised when I told them how Griffin changed the color of his skin to do research for the book.
|Did you know Lois Lenski illustrated|
the first book in 1963?